The Algerian government expelled AFP Algiers bureau chief Aymeric Vincenot on Tuesday in the wake of its refusal to renew his press accreditation.
The expulsion comes amid massive demonstrations in Algeria that underline the indispensable role journalists play in explaining the events to the rest of the world.
AFP chairman Fabrice Fries said: “This arbitrary decision taken under the presidency of Mr Bouteflika is unacceptable, and it is out of the question for us, in these circumstances, to appoint a successor for the time being”.
The Algerian authorities have never officially informed the AFP management of the reasons for the decision, merely reporting various grievances verbally in March without ever offering any proof.
Vincenot, 45, had been stationed in Algiers since June 2017 and left the country after the expiration of a final police deadline to leave.
“By depriving us of our bureau chief, this decision seriously affects our presence in Algeria, which is there to provide exhaustive and rigorous coverage of the historic events that are currently underway” said Fries. He added “we are not giving up” and the Agency had already sent special envoys to the country and would continue to submit requests for journalist visas.
He also expressed “the solidarity of AFP towards Algerian journalists, who are bravely doing their work in particularly difficult conditions.”
The AFP bureau chief, whose residency permit expired on February 28, has been without accreditation since the end of 2018. His request to renew his press card for 2019 received no response from the Algerian authorities, despite AFP’s best efforts.
AFP’s international network covers world news in text, video, photo and infographics 24/7 based on strict editorial principles of rigour, independence and impartiality.
The Agency is trusted by more than 5,000 clients worldwide and is present in 151 countries. It has had a bureau in Algiers since 1962.